Acts 13–14 contains an account of Paul’s first missionary journey to the Gentiles. Paul’s companion was Barnabas, although John Mark also accompanied them during the beginning of the mission. This mission led to the establishment of branches of the Church in areas far removed from Jerusalem. Paul entered cities where there were no members and where most had not even heard of Jesus Christ. When he left, however, there were thriving branches of the Church (see Bible map 13). In these chapters we see Paul’s eagerness to preach the gospel to all men, regardless of their station or background. He usually preached first to the Jews, many of whom rejected his message, and then to the Gentiles. As you read, notice the qualities that made Paul such a great missionary.
Prayerfully study Acts 13–14and consider the following principles before preparing your lessons.
Some Important Gospel Principles to Look For
Some people embrace the word of God when they hear it, while others reject it (see Acts 13:43–52).
The Life and Teachings of Jesus and His Apostles, 262–64.
“The Missions of the Apostle Paul,” 296 in this manual.
Suggestions for Teaching
Choose from the following ideas, or use some of your own, as you prepare lessons for Acts 13–14.
Acts 13–14. Paul is an example we can follow when we do missionary work.
Invite those students who have a brother, sister, or other relative on a mission to raise their hands. Ask them to relate examples of challenges that missionaries sometimes encounter. Ask: How do these challenges affect the missionary’s ability to share the gospel with others?
Ask students to turn to Bible map 13 and trace the course of Paul’s first missionary journey. Help students understand the difficulties encountered by Paul on his first missionary journey by discussing some or all of the following questions:
According to the map, approximately how far did Paul travel?
Considering the time and the paths indicated on the map, what modes of travel might Paul have used?
What difficulties would these circumstances present to a missionary living then?
What modes of travel do missionaries use today?
What difficulties do these create for present-day missionaries?
Tell students that we can learn how to become good missionaries through Paul’s example. Divide your class into two groups. Assign one group to study Acts 13and the other Acts 14, looking for answers to the following questions:
How was missionary work in Paul’s day similar to missionary work in our day?
What can we learn from Paul’s example to help us be better missionaries?
Discuss each group’s findings and list key points on the board. Encourage students to prepare to serve the Lord by following Paul’s example.
Acts 13:6–12, 49-14:7, 19–27. Opposition always accompanies the growth of the Church.
Write the following statement on the board:
“Every time you kick ‘Mormonism’ you kick it upstairs; you never kick it downstairs. The Lord Almighty so orders it” (Brigham Young, Discourses of Brigham Young, 351).
What do you think this statement means?
Why do you think there always seems to be opposition to the growth of the Church?
What is the source of the opposition mentioned in these verses?
How does the Lord support those who preach His gospel?
Why does the Lord support them?
Read Doctrine and Covenants 35:13–14with your class and look for the promises the Lord gives those who faithfully declare His gospel. Ask: How do these promises apply to missionaries? Point out that missionaries do not always overcome opposition but sometimes have to walk away from it (see Acts 13:49–52). Invite students to share examples of how a missionary they know overcame or endured opposition with the help of the Lord.
Acts 13:6–8, 43–50; 14:4, 19–20. Some people embrace the word of God when they hear it, while others reject and fight against it.
Ask students: As people are taught the gospel, why do you think some accept the message while others don’t?
Tell students that Paul and his companions taught the gospel to many people. Some accepted it as true, while others rejected it. Have students read Acts 13:6–8, 43, 45, 48, 50; 14:4, 19–20looking for key words or phrases that reveal people’s acceptance or rejection of the gospel. Have the students share their findings.
Divide the class in two. Have one group read John 7:17; 14:15; Hebrews 11:24–26; and Doctrine and Covenants 93:36–39looking for why some accept the gospel. Have the other group read Mark 7:9and 1 Nephi 2:11–12; 16:2–3looking for why some reject the gospel. Discuss what they find.
Read Mosiah 3:19and ask: According to this verse, what are some characteristics of people who understand and obey truth? Encourage students to seek these traits.